Thursday, 5 April 2007

Roman Archaeology Conference 2007

I'm just back from the RAC / TRAC 2007, held at University College London / Birkbeck College.

I had a really good time. Quite apart from all the new information I picked up, it was good to immerse myself in such an accademic cauldron. It really motivated me to crack on with my research.

The timing worked out really well for me, as I was running a training course in London from Monday to Thursday. The conference started Thursday evening, so I rushed across town, checked into a new hotel, hastily registered for the conference and attended an opening lecture at the British museum on Thursday evening.

This was my first significant conference and rather than waffling on about it, I thought I would compile a quick list of do's and don'ts:


1. Expect to feel like 'billy no mates' for a while if you come on your own
2. Make sure you wear your name badge (even if the name on it is wrong!) so that people don't keep forgetting who you are, when you speak to them
3. Go and see the leading authorities in the field speak. On the whole they were the most engaging people to listen to. In any case, it's great to come face to face with people you've been reading for years.
4. Keep an open mind. Some of the topics were far more interesting than the abstract suggested (and vice versa)!
5. Get to the lunch time buffet quickly - some of those accademics are very greedy ..


1. Get annoyed when people wander in and out of papers all day (I was suprised by how rude people were in this regard). It just raises your blood pressure and won't stop it happening.
2. Expect eveyone to prepare their papers properly. The majority of speakers looked down most of the time and read from notes (often very quickly and quietly). The better ones avoided this and came across so much better.
3. Worry if someone you are speaking to checks your name badge while you are waxing lyrical. They just want to see if you are a 'Dr' or better before they decide whether you are worth listening to
4. Sit in the front row of the Harrie Massey lecture theatre if you are more than 5' tall, or you will lose the use of your knees for 24 hours.
5. Stay in the Euston Square hotel, unless you are lulled to sleep by constant and noisy traffic.

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